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Fee increase to dominate Middlebourne’s agenda

By Staff | Jan 5, 2011

The January meeting of Middlebourne City Council will focus on the third and final reading of the 2010 Sewer Rate Ordinance. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m Jan. 10 and is open to the public.

Under discussion and up for final approval will be a proposed increase of water and sewer usage fees. Mayor Gayla Fisher explained that the current facilities are over twenty-five years old, and while several measures have been taken to hold down costs to consumers, a rate increase is necessary. Chemicals used at the plant are increasingly expensive, utility rates are up, and repairs are needed, noted Fisher. “Indeed, it has to be done,” she remarked concerning the proposed rate increase.

Mayor Fisher commented that grants totaling $19,000 have been obtained to help defray expenses. Five thousand dollars will be used towards having the sedimentation basin pumped (on January 17); replacement of a “flocculator” will use $10,000 of the grant funds; and replacement of a pump was funded with $4,000 of grant money. She also explained that the city has been taking preventive measures to keep costs down, such as flushing the water lines. In addition council has been “price shopping”, trying to obtain the best rates for parts and labor.

The increase under consideration could be as much as 20 percent for water and 15 percent for sewer usage fees. Under this plan, the current minimum usage rate for water ( $16.71 for 3,000 gallons) would rise to $20.05. Sewage fees under the new ordinance would rise to $34.37 (up from $29.88) per month.

Mayor Fisher stated that council would like to see these rates increase incrementally, if possible. “It would be better to introduce smaller increases, if feasible, on a yearly basis,” she said.

The decision on the rate increase will be final at the conclusion of the meeting. All interested persons with comments and/or concerns are cordially invited to come and be part of the discussion, noted Mayor Fisher.